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The Keep Arkansas Beautiful Commission (KAB) has released its 2023 Wrap-Up Report detailing the end-of-year results for its two annual cleanup campaigns. In 2023, a total of 747 cleanup events were held across the state where 22,520 Arkansans volunteered, an increase of nearly 27% compared to last year. The total amount of litter removed was 636 tons from all 75 counties.
“In an effort to increase engagement, civic responsibility and overall conservationism, the Keep Arkansas Beautiful staff had the goal to attract at least 20,000 volunteers in 2023, which they exceeded,” said Shea Lewis, Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism secretary. “We have not seen participation numbers like this in nearly 10 years. It is exhilarating to see Arkansans give back to and improve their communities through litter removal, recycling and beautification, which aligns with Governor Sanders’ efforts in The Natural State Initiative.”
Every year, KAB hosts two statewide cleanup initiatives: its spring campaign, the Great American Cleanup (GAmC), and its fall campaign, the Great Arkansas Cleanup (GAC). Community members are encouraged to get involved in local and statewide beautification efforts by organizing a cleanup or volunteering at a local event during these campaigns.
“These staggering numbers demonstrate how Arkansans care about keeping their communities clean and green,” said Colbie Jones, director of KAB. “Thanks to their dedication, we’ve marked a second-year hosting cleanups in every Arkansas county and record-breaking efforts. As we enter a new year, I want to encourage every Arkansan to seek out ways to get involved in cleanup and beautification efforts in their local area.”
The number of hours Arkansans spent participating in KAB cleanup activities reached nearly 150,000. In 2023, volunteers removed 514 tons of bulky waste found across 2,132 miles of roadways and 772,051 acres of parks and public areas (a massive increase from last year of nearly 8,000%). What’s more, 327 miles alongside waterways and shorelines were cleaned. Volunteers also collected 6,227 tires and 2,418 tons of recyclables while planting more than 1,878 trees, shrubs and flowers. Throughout the year, 182 litter grabber kits were distributed to individuals unable to join larger cleanups but still wanted to clean their communities.
“I am truly thankful for our 600 cleanup event coordinators who engaged thousands of volunteers to give their time and energy to clean and beautify every Arkansas county,” said Robyn Taylor, volunteer program manager at KAB. “We are proud to see yet another successful Go Clean Challenge gain participation from across the state.”
KAB also engaged 600 businesses in its Eats & Clean Streets initiative in 2023, which provides businesses in the food services and hospitality industry with free signage encouraging patrons not to litter at their businesses or around the state. Through its youth education efforts, KAB reached nearly 14,000 young people in Arkansas with litter prevention and beautification messages.